Can an Education Degree Authorize Bait and Switch Political Insurrections With No Recourse?

No I am not talking about a car loan. And I am also not picking on teachers. Truthfully we could substitute a psychology, sociology, anthropology, or even a legal degree in the place of the education degree. The very important point to recognize is this: can education credentials empower people to disregard the language of the US Constitution or comparable legal protections in other countries? Because right now all over the world we have colleges and universities creating degree programs that are designed to use educational institutions to change mindsets and values and beliefs and attitudes and feelings of the students passing through. Higher ed and K-12. Soon to be preschool. A long time to be under organized assault with data being gathered on your current personal attributes. All while getting paid with taxpayer funds.

And the reports they are issuing if you know where to look state or cite to quotes like this: “we support the development of a revolutionary socialist movement in the United States.” As taxpayers are we bound to support that agenda as long as the person pursuing it has the right kind of education credentials? Is there really nothing we can do? You can say vote them out of office but many with this desire are tenured profs or appointed bureaucrats. That inflammatory quote came from Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis’ Schooling in Capitalist America: Educational Reform and the Contradictions of Economic Life that I have already mentioned in a previous post. So when one of the reports this week from the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education cited that book, I knew exactly what economic vision went with their vision of fairness and a just society for all in the 21st century.

The Gordon Commission is largely out of sight since it was set up by Educators Testing Service in Princeton using grants made to them. But out of sight does not mean not influential. Not with the movers and shakers selected for that Commission and their connections to the actual Common Core implementation and education globally. And these reports have an explicit economic and political vision attached to them. And cites to people with notorious philosophies like Michel Foucault. Are we all just screwed because these people are education professors or evaluators or vendors and that means a free pass?

How about if the report on “Technological Implications for Assessment Ecosystems” starts off with a quote from Paulo Freire and his Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Here goes:

“The role of the problem-posing educator is to create, together with the students, the conditions under which knowledge at the level of the doxa is superseded by the true knowledge at the level of the logos. [Freire is interested in shifting away from academic knowledge to everyday practical knowledge like what David Orr called Slow Knowledge]. Whereas banking education [Freire's term for the transmission of subject-matter knowledge] anesthetizes and inhibits creative power, problem-posing education involves a constant unveiling of reality. [or at least how radical political reformers wish reality to be seen. Think Don Schon's Generative Metaphor altering daily perceptions] The former [banking education] attempts to maintain the submersion of consciousness; the latter [problem-posing] strives for the emergence of consciousness and critical intervention in reality.”

Now isn’t that just the mentality you want in people developing the tasks and problems used to assess students? Oh, I forgot. The 2 authors, John T Behrens and Kristen E DiCerbo, now work for Pearson. You know the global publishing giant so involved in developing the Common Core curricula and the assessment administrator for Texas’ STAAR as well as both CCSSI consortia, SBAC and PARCC? talks about how Pearson’s Chief Education Advisor, Michael Barber, once advised UK citizens that Global Citizenship could replace God and Marx as a guiding value. Is it a conflict yet to be involved with all these assessments and having employees writing alarming reports for the Gordon Commission?

What if the employees also write that assessments are “complex performances parallel to those learners would complete in the real world?” Sure sounds vocational to me. Especially with that report stating we are shifting from the Item Paradigm, which had questions with correct or wrong answers and sought particular information, to the Activity Paradigm. In the Activity Paradigm the assessment is not for particular information but rather an interest in “assessing specific attributes of an individual.” I feel so much better.

Especially after a search of the authors’ names brought me to the website of the Journal of Educational Data Mining. No more need to stress over hypotheticals involving education’s collection of Big Data on students. We appear to be there. How lucrative for Pearson. Is it publicly traded? Can we all cash in on this connected boondoggle? Precisely what data will come from assessments involving “activities” that “request action,” “have features.” “provide attributes, ” and “provide multi-dimensional information”? In other words, it’s not what a student knows but the essence of who they are being assessed while the student is a captive in a K-12 institution.

Seriously no need to worry about the fact that “digital devices of all kinds are typically enabled to collect data in ubliquitous and unobtrusive ways.” After all it was a different Gordon Commission report that pointed out that “Practices of assessment do not so much reflect the nature of the individual as they construct the individual in their terms.” Gulp. Did you understand that aspect of the Common Core? Is that what educational institutions in a free country are empowered to do while lying to the public about the nature of the changes? You may want to take another look at the nature of these performance assessments and Pearson’s confession that they are really assessing 21st century skills. . Behrens and DiCerbo also mention they are assessing 21st century skills.

Which is also a problem. A 2004 book, The Education Gospel: The Economic Power of Schooling, is also popular among the insiders planning the 21st century on our behalf while profiting greatly. The book explains that all educational institutions now are engaged in what it calls the “Occupational Purpose of Schooling.” The College for All, increasing high school graduation rates through gaming or whatever it takes to keep everyone in place to get their diploma, and Equity of Credentials drives we have talked about are creating dangerous expectations in students. A belief that there is a promise that if they stay in school and get the degree, they will find “well-paid jobs with prospects for the future, careers or vocations rather than mere work.”

That implied promise so many are relying is the Education Gospel. It in turn requires what the authors call the Foundational State–the kind of reinvented workplace we have already seen Peter Senge’s Fieldbook and Zuboff’s Support Economy pitch as an intrinsic component of all these ed reforms. The prerogatives of employers and students and parents supposedly just have to be subordinated to the needs of the Foundational State. Which, 1, 2, 3 “requires a very different approach to politics and democracy than we have now. It provides a clear vision of the common good: a society in which human capacities are consistently and equitably developed.” Which is a good summary of Marx’s human development theory. Back for its 21st century run on the Industrialized West via stealth and education and apparently poorly understood assessments.

I will close with a quote from the end of the book where the authors note:

“Perhaps we as a nation cannot develop the politics necessary for the Foundational State. But then we should stop prattling on about “skills of the twenty-first century,” the “common sense” of college for all, and the imperatives of the knowledge society including lifelong learning, because we cannot achieve any positive version of vocationalism without the policies of the Foundational State.”

And I say, amen to that. The Swedes said basically the same thing when they piloted these ed reforms as part of their move to the Welfare State in the 1950s and 60s.  You cannot unlink the actual Common Core implementation from the radical political, social, and economic changes that are essential components. Everyone consistently says so if you know where to look.

I know where to look and have. Already downloaded and hard copied. Can we get enough parents and taxpayers and politicians to listen in time?

Imitating the USSR in Striving to Discover How the Child can Become What He Not Yet Is

Well of course that lurid title is based on an actual quote. And one that goes to the heart not only of the actual Common Core implementation but also the broader social, economic, and political transformations being sought. And it is from the 70s so this has been the driver of what has gone on in the decades ever since. All over the world but especially in the US as education and cultural and social transformation were always poorly understood components of the Cold War era struggles. It is time to do some fundamental explanations of those misunderstandings and woeful ignorance of where the battlegrounds really have been.

Now I have talked about American psychology prof Urie Bronfenbrenner numerous times because his Ecological Systems Theory has been so influential in what future teachers are now taught in ed schools all over the world. And the BEST metaphor of systems thinking is a key component of global ed reform. Except the fact that it is an interpretive theory and non-factual metaphor to influence future thought and action tends to get left out of both the teachers and the students’ classroom exposure to systems thinking. For them, especially when you add in lots of graphically visual computer modelling of the supposed “interdependencies” and possible impacts, this Systems Thinking metaphor quickly becomes reality. Which is of course the goal. is where I first address BEST and cite the US embrace of it and the sociocultural understanding of the mind last summer.

And that aspiration of false beliefs to influence future behavior calls to mind what Urie (that name is too long to keep typing. Anyone with aspirations of changing the future to a world that has never been should be on a first-name basis with us–his funders and victims) described as “perhaps the only proposition in social science that approaches the status of an immutable law–WI Thomas’s inexorable dictum: ‘If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.’”

False beliefs and supplied manipulative mental concepts can be, and in fact are being designed to be, hugely influential on future behavior. Real in their consequences. And we may all think of education as being about the transmission of knowledge from the past, but the social scientists think education is all about changing future behaviors. Changing moral and spiritual values and feelings and all the components of the personality that will turn into the adult’s character. And the behavioral scientists, especially in the US at the premier ed schools, have controlled the agenda for decades.

The US, especially Columbia, Harvard, Chicago, and Stanford, is where the world came for their Graduate Training in the behavioral sciences. Before going back to Sweden or Germany or the Netherlands or Australia to then drive ed reforms there. Ed reforms that were always designed to go hand in hand with an inexorable drive towards a Government-Directed Welfare State. Here’s the order according to an influential Swede (who cites to Urie and Margaret Mead) speaking in 1980 who was heavily involved with UNESCO, OECD, and those poorly understood but influential international “assessments.”

“legislation and implementation of the Welfare State to a large extent has to precede commitments to educational change: first full employment and decent standards of living, and then education.”

And what does the last stage of ed reform that is an integral component of that Welfare State look like? Described in a book on Quality Education from the 60s based on everyone globally adopting the Swedish ed reforms, see if this vision does not sound familiar. Think of the “student-centered,” activity and task and project oriented, and social and emotional learning focus we have been chronicling as the real Common Core implementation.

“The fourth [stage], finally, is characterized by emphasis on meaning [as in a meaning-making approach to literacy?] and understanding [as in deep and grounded in emotion?], problem-solving [real world and thus authentic?] and pupil activity. Discipline is more relaxed and positive [introduce PATHS or PBIS as in Cleveland instead of expulsions]. More stress is put on the emotional life of the children.”

So when Urie developed BEST he was looking to, in his own words, restructure established institutions and their values and what he called their ideologies. To Urie capitalism and individualism were just as much an ideology as Communism. We apparently get no bonus points for success or mass prosperity or the absence of gulags. Even mass murders but maybe Urie just did not want to believe bad consequences of his preferred systems. And we are not talking about his personal political beliefs here. Beyond his influence over teacher ed and the Systems Thinking permeating the classroom and psychology in general, not a single day goes by that I do not get multiple searches looking into Bronfenbrenner or BEST. It is clearly dominant in the teacher professional training for Common Core and many teachers are alarmed at what they are hearing. And seeing.

Well these next revelations will be like throwing kerosene on a fire then. But unlike the false beliefs dominating the Common Core and the sought transformations in all the rest of our systems, including us since we are designated as socio-technical systems, this is all factual. Socio-technical may sound nerdy but it was in a federal Ecosystem rebuilt around Sustainability report from this summer that the major tech companies helped on. Thanks so much.

Apparently Urie was an exchange scientist at the Soviet Institute of Psychology in the mid-60s. He wrote that Soviet psychologist A N Leontiev personally pointed out to him the fact that American research on human development was limited to social and economic systems that presently exist or occurred in the past. He quotes Leontiev as saying:

“It seems to me that American researchers are constantly seeking to explain how the child came to be what he is; we in the USSR are striving to discover not how the child came to be what he is, but how he can become what he not yet is.”

So when I write about changing American education to the Soviet model or using Vygotsky’s research or sociocultural theory or the troubling implications of BEST or even Marx’s human development theory, I am not trying to be provocative. Well, maybe just a little to get attention as this is gravely important. This is education to try to gain a different type of mind and motivating personality. That’s not just my opinion. I am like a court reporter here with all these quotes that date back to mid-70s speeches before publication in the July 1977 issue of American Psychologist. Urie developed BEST to move educational research outside of the lab to try to no longer “perpetuate the status quo.” He wanted to see if what he called “evolving social systems” in the West were “susceptible to significant and novel transformation.”

And to give you some idea just how serious and all-encompassing Urie’s aspirations for BEST were he complained that:

“We are loath to experiment with new social forms as contexts for realizing human potential. ‘After all,’ we say, ‘you can’t change human nature.’ This precept underlies our national stance on social policy and much of our science in human development as well.”

Urie also described what the Soviets called the “transforming experiment.” According to him:

“By this term they mean an experiment that radically restructures the environment, producing a new configuration that activates previously unrealized behavioral potentials of the subject.”

But the Soviets had a problem. When they left the lab, the ‘transforming experiment’ “degenerates into dutiful demonstration of ideologically prescribed processes and outcomes.” Ahh, poor things. By the 60s and 70s the indoctrination had been too penetrating for too long and the Soviet Union has ceased to be a reliable place to employ a useful “transforming experiment.” Where to go? What to do? Go West young man was apparently the answer and that is what has happened.

It is hard not to see the ed lab pushes of the 80s and all the curriculum and instructional transformation centers on campuses as not being Leontiev-Urie transforming experiments on the unsuspecting West. Especially the US. Or the 90s Outcomes Based Education or Achieving Excellence push that swept the globe, especially anywhere with a tie to English-speaking people.

Or the actual Common Core implementation today. Transform every aspect fundamentally all at once. Include the economic system to gain a radically new form of capitalism as we discussed in the last post.

Urie complained that in the 60s USSR “systematic data yield to anecdotal accounts.” No worry. Now we have a national Data Quality Campaign and the Harvard Strategic Data Project and the longitudinal ability to track each student’s Growth.

Too bad Leontiev and Urie passed away before all their dreams came to fruition.

What will the “significant and novel transformations” be? All the way down the unconscious level of each student.

I guess we are now revisiting the always tragic issue of can you change human nature.


Hiding Education’s Theft of Individual Freedom Behind the Positive School Climate Mandate

Sometimes, like today, I am so stunned by the gap between the provided story of what is going on in education and the actual unknown, likely to be tragic, reality that I have to stop after gathering together the facts and take a history detour. “Who can I turn to with experience in such official folly?” “What can I use to illustrate the enormous likely consequences?” I found this quote Nobel Prize-winning Economist Friedrich Hayek used to explain The Value of Freedom in his book The Constitution of Liberty to be a great start in our quest to avert tyranny via education.

“In an advancing society, any restriction on liberty reduces the number of things tried and so reduces the rate of progress. In such a society freedom of action is granted to the individual, not because it gives him greater satisfaction but because if allowed to go his own way he will on average serve the rest of us better than any orders we know how to give.”

Or any Collective Vision we force others to adhere to would be a good update to the practical importance of individual liberty. That seems to be the 21st Century Means of Giving such Orders.

The Positive School Climate Mandate the feds are now forcing on all schools in all states is being interpreted as requiring “graduates who are other oriented and see their lives as having a larger purpose than advancing their own self-interest.” Students are no longer to see their education as being “all about me.” Instead, they need to learn to moderate their performance goals to “honor the interests of others” and reflect “a shared commitment to bringing out the best in each other.”

I guess that encountering what could best be described as the Collective Communitarian Classroom should not be a big shock given our careful deconstruction of what College and Career Ready actually means. But is a long way from the stated goals of consistent criteria of knowledge that will no longer vary from state to state to run so consistently into no knowledge, New Kinds of Minds, Manipulated Personalities, Revised Values, and now Mandated Altruism as some sort of First Directive. All enforceable via the Data Being Collected and Archived to monitor all this about each student. Collected under poorly understood definitions of “Growth” and “Achievement.” And accompanied by repeated snide remarks about “even students who do strive for excellence and achieve it honestly may be doing so in a very individualistic way.

Now hardly anyone seems to know about the Positive School Climate Mandate, much less the related social and emotional learning focus we have been chronicling. Add to that ignorance a counterintuitive definition that insists that the students and faculty must create and then adhere to  “shared expectations, values, and patterns of behavior that define who we are” and we have a vehicle for enforced personality coercion via our schools. All being promoted as Moral Education. Character Education. Performance Values. Supers are now bringing in Cambridge Education to tell teachers that they can no longer lecture or systematically teach content from a textbook. Then the Supers and Principals plan to turn around and tell that same teacher that she and her students “must work hard in order to create and sustain a caring school environment” and “build caring relationships.” Riane Eisler must be so pleased.

Hayek defined coercion as being when a person is “forced to act not according to a coherent plan of his own but to serve the ends of another.” I could go on for pages describing what is planned as part of that Positive School Climate Mandate but at its essence it is an initiative sponsored by our federal government to force American citizens, our young students, to be led to believe from an early age that such coercion is not only justified but actually a positive, laudable, permissable role of government. To mold students who will selflessly

“contribute to the lives of others, . . . make a positive difference in the world, take initiative to right a wrong or be of service to others; we persevere to overcome problems and mend relationships; we work selflessly on behalf of others or for a noble cause, often without recognition or reward.”

Government officials and employees have decided that it is to their benefit to use K-12 education to squelch out anything that fosters reason or individuality. They believe no one can stop them. I think Ayn Rand had it precisely right when she said “collectivist slogans serve as a rationalization for those who intend, not to follow the people, but to rule it.” The mediocre or naive or greedy insist that no one may be exceptional and would also like good benefits and an inflation adjusted retirement while they enforce such an education for servitude. Despite having lied to us repeatedly about what they are up to. Education to create citizens who are willing and need to be ruled is precisely the Bag of Goods we have been sold under such names as the Common Core and UNESCO’s Education for All.

Perhaps the best way to dramatize just how intrusive this political vision intends to be can be illustrated by describing the Flock of Geese classroom activity to teach Collective Responsibility to every person in the classroom. Excerpts from Page 55 of the Pathway to Excellence & Ethics Resource Manual. The idea is for children to start seeing the classroom as one flock. Is this what a free society teaches its children when not selling them on the joys of cooperative learning via group projects? (Bold face is from story)

“It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird immediately following. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an up-lift for others behind it.

Quite similar to people who are part of a team and share a common direction get where they are going quicker and easier, because they are traveling on the trust of one another and lift each other along the way.

If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation and share information with those who are headed the same way we are going.

When one of us is down, it’s up to the others to stand by us in our time of trouble.

If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other when things get rough.

We will stay in formation with those headed where we want to go.

The next time you see a formation of geese, remember their message that “IT IS INDEED A REWARD, A CHALLENGE, AND A PRIVILEGE TO BE A CONTRIBUTING MEMBER OF A TEAM.”

Words almost fail me. That’s what the cultivation of an emotional herd instinct looks like. The Germans did that in the 19th Century and there were too few to stop a widely held Bad Idea. We had Two World Wars as a result. Friedrich Hayek, an Austrian, saw both of them and never forgot the dangers of state power that systematically sought to squelch and devalue human freedom. Once again, let’s listen to his wisdom born of tragic experience.

Coercion is a person “unable to use his own intelligence or knowledge or to follow his own aims and beliefs. . . coercion is evil precisely because it thus eliminates the individual as a thinking and valuing person and makes him a bare tool in the achievement of the ends of another.”

I reject the idea that in the United States that politicians can authorize supers and principals and accreditors to enact what is clearly intended to be an unprecedented level of personal coercion. And via our taxpayer funded schools no less. This is ultimately the core of the so-called Common Core. And it was designed to be undetectable.

We had components of this already but it was actually laid out in the November ASCD Whole Child Newsletter. Then I followed up on the references. There is no question this is intended to be a key component of the Fundamental Transformation of the United States promised just before our current President won office the first time. The November timing makes it clear this is to be carried into effect largely out of sight whoever wins the Presidential Election on Tuesday.

The fundamental Transformation is apparently on Autopilot at this point. Let’s think about what Ayn Rand learned from her experience with the Bolsheviks.

“In real life, there is no such thing as a gradual descent from civilization to savagery. There is a crash. There is no such thing as retrogressing ‘a little.’ There is no such thing as a ‘restrained progress.’”

We are looking at a certain crash in the US unless we turn away soon. Can one indeed be elected or credentialed to abrogate human freedom now with impunity?